The Jones Act and U.S. general maritime law provide seamen with rights to receive compensation when they are injured or become ill while employed on a vessel. The Jones Act is a federal statute adopted by Congress in 1920. U.S. general maritime law refers to all of the maritime cases decided by judges in the past. Together, the Jones Act and general maritime law provide injured or ill “seaman” with three types of benefits: Maintenance, Cure and damages for Personal Injury.
Maintenance is the amount of financial compensation that the owner of the vessel pays for room and board while the seaman is on shore, unable to work and recovering from an injury or illness. Compensation is paid on a daily rate which can range from $12 to $50 per day or more. A seaman can enlist a Jones Act Attorney to confirm that he or she is being paid the appropriate amount of maintenance.
Maintenance is not a replacement for wages lost due to injury. Instead, maintenance is intended as a replacement for the room and board that the seaman would have been provided while aboard ship. However, even seamen who do not live aboard are entitled to maintenance. If a seaman is not receiving the appropriate benefits for maintenance, a Jones Act attorney can seek to remedy the issue with the employer.
Cure is the maritime law’s way of referring to the medical care and treatment reasonably required to “cure” the seaman from the effects of an injury or illness. A seaman is entitled to cure until he or she reaches a maximum medical cure. The right of a seaman to receive maintenance and cure is absolute, and an employer who willfully fails to provide it, does so at great risk.
If a seaman is not receiving cure benefits, he or she would be wise to hire a Jones Act attorney. A Jones Act attorney can help the injured seaman force the employer to pay for his or her medical bills, as well as compensation for the delay in treatment or any aggravation of the injury. A seaman will receive payments until he or she reaches a maximum medical cure.
Personal Injury Damages
In addition to a seaman’s rights to receive maintenance and cure, under the Jones Act and general maritime law, a seaman is entitled to personal injury damages when he or she suffers an injury because the employer is negligent or the vessel is unseaworthy.
For example, and employer who required a seaman to lift and carry a heavy piece of equipment that could have been moved by mechanical means, to save time, might be said to have been negligent. In a similar situation, if the seaman were required to lift and carry heavy equipment because the engine room crane was broken, the ship may be said to be unseaworthy.
Damages for personal injuries include compensation for such things as: loss of wages, current medical care, future medical care, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
A seamen who feels that he or she has not been paid the proper compensation, will benefit from the expert services of a Jones Act Attorney.
Hiring a Jones Act Attorney
When a seaman is injured, his employer and the ship owner will try to reduce the amount of compensation they will pay by employing specialized marine investigators, company doctors and maritime defense attorneys. Because of that, an injured seaman will be wise to hire a Jones Act Attorney. A Jones Act Attorney has experience in such cases and understands the Jones Act and general maritime law and how to make them work for the seaman.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness while working on a ship, hiring a Jones Act lawyer will help protect your rights and will work on your behalf to make sure you receive the right amount of compensation for your injuries and losses.